I knew this day was coming…I have been having reality checks off and on for the past few months! The first week in June my oldest turned 18. He went to bed a child and woke up an adult (not to sure a good nights sleep deems him capable of being an adult!!!)
When Keith died, this was a day I could not imagine. Scott was just 3 yrs old when his dad died. We all lost our innocence that day. My heart ached for my kids and the new world that had been thrust upon them. Grief made me live moment by moment and imagining anything other than the next 5 minutes was unfathomable.
15 years ago I never could have thought about he day he would turn 18. I couldn’t have imagined where we would be, what we would doing, if we would even make it this far. Some how we did and his birthday is proof of our success.
Grief constantly seems to pull us in opposite directions at the same time. It is the paradox of grief. Emotions seem to conflict with each other…feeling happy and sad at same time, joy and guilt, heartache and proudness (is that a word?!)
In supporting families I always talk about honouring emotions, sitting in the muck and getting comfortable with it. We talk about allowing those grief bursts to just happen – not fight them, but let them wash over us.
This birthday reminded me of the power of those grief bursts and how much energy is taken when the knock us over. But I have also learned that these burst have something to teach us if we are open to listen.
I was hit by a huge grief burst – one that I knew was coming but one that I didn’t expect to be quite so powerful and exhausting. But I was a good girl and practiced what I preach! I sat in the muck. I listened to my body and let it do what it needed. There was no stuffing or holding back – it was messy!!
But as I sat in the muck and was present to the burst, I had a revelation. I wasn’t sitting in the muck of grief, I realized I was sitting the pond of gratitude…maybe it was an ocean cause there were a few big waves!
A day that I never imagined was possible was happening. A future I couldn’t have dreamed of is unfolding every day. A new love who loves me for who I am and what I bring stands beside me every day, supporting me and our children. A career that never would have crossed my radar fills my soul every day. Family who is healthy and who was with me through good and bad. My son who has taken this tragedy and has become a compassionate, caring, amazing young man who is about to set the world on fire. My daughter whose empathetic soul is there for anyone who needs it. My little man whose creativity sparks me to be creative. A home, friends, stability, a solid future….something that seemed so intangible 15 years ago is now my reality.
So no, I did not sit in grief, I sat in gratitude for a life I never thought was possible.